5 Security Tips for the Festive Period

The festive holidays will certainly look a little different this year but for cyber criminals the opportunities remain the same. As many businesses have been operating remotely there has been a heightened risk, not only from staff working outside of protected networks, but also from less effective backups as data is now more widely disseminated.

With everyone focused on how we all survive and thrive in the pandemic, it is easy take your eye off your IT security as other priorities mount. But it’s vital that you maintain high levels of vigilance to keep your business protected over the holidays.

Below are a few top tips to help you do just that…

Tip 1: Think before you click

It’s easier said than done, and we understand just how difficult it is to stay alert when you receive a fun Christmas e-card, an electronic gift voucher, or online order confirmation (particularly with more of us choosing to shop online at the moment). However, it’s critical that you always check your emails twice and make sure that it is genuinely from the person you think it is. Cyber-criminals are all too aware that the festive season is a prime time of year to catch out unexpected individuals. Remember, just because you can click, doesn’t mean you should and if possible, hover over the links before you click to check where it is taking you. If it looks suspicious, then it most likely is and could contain malicious content that could result in you falling victim to the rise in ransomware.

Tip 2: Always use strong passwords

We all know that strong passwords are annoying and potentially easy to forget, however the risks associated with being hacked far outweigh the pain it takes to remember / enter them. We managed to crack 6,634,204,312,890,625 passwords in two and half days, highlighting just how easy it is to crack a password. The key is to use a password which contains a minimum of 12 characters that include numbers, symbols, capital letters mixed with lower-case letters! Take a look at our blog on how to create strong passwords. Better still make sure you have Multi-Factor Authentication in place to add that extra layer of security.

Tip 3: Make sure you’re using the latest, updated software

Make sure all your software applications and operating systems are patched and updated as running outdated versions can lead to security risks. Cyber-criminals can spot open vulnerabilities, in fact, with your devices updated and patched you are less likely to be affected by a cyber-attack, as around 70% of cyber-attacks exploit known vulnerabilities. An updated or patched server or PC is less susceptible to malware and other viruses, so it’s key to have a patch management strategy in place, so your devices are always updated, stable and secure.

Tip 4: Back up your data

It sounds obvious but many businesses are still using outdated and untested backup solutions which, in the event of a cyber attack, would not enable them to get their business back up and running in a reasonable timeframe, if at all. Look at where your data is being backed up – often cyber criminals will look for the backup files first and secure them before they target your primary network leaving you nowhere to go. Data backup considerations need to go beyond a simple copy of actual data; in the event of a cyber attack you need to be able to rebuild the core of your business from it so it needs to be robust, proven and most important form part of a wider Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity strategy.

Tip 5: Enjoy your break knowing you have everything in place

Having robust IT and cyber solutions in place, backed up by a team of specialists in our Support Teams, means you can relax and enjoy the holidays which is well deserved after the year that we have all had. We can offer free IT and Cyber assessments to identify any potential gaps in your provision and provide first-class services to give you that peace of mind.

Still got concerns about your security over the festive period?

Our cyber and IT consultants are on hand to help, right up to Christmas, so if you want to make sure you have good protection in place then get in touch with us either by email [email protected] or call us on 01299 873800.